An insight about you: You're not going to read this. You're too busy.
Well, maybe not you. But some of you won't read this because you're too busy. That's okay. We're all too busy. Your customers aren't listening
to most of what you say to them, either. They're too busy. But they're very interested in talking to you, if you're not too busy to listen.
Another insight about your customers: They're like four year olds. Treat them that way.
They call me Grandpa
Before you decide I'm wrong or giving you bad advice, I hope you'll hear me out. I have some experience with four year olds. Some of my best friends are four --
recently been four. I call them by their first names. They call me Grandpa.
Here are some things I know about four year olds:
- They're not good listeners. None of us are. But four year olds don't even pretend to listen to all that it's-good-for-you stuff you try to tell them.
They'll perk up right away, though, if you say something they want to hear. Something like: Would you like a cookie? Your customers aren't good listeners, either.
They'll perk up right away, though, if you say something they want to hear. How do you know what that is? The same way you know what the four year olds in your life want
to hear. Listen to them.
- They're unrelenting in their effort to tell you what they want. And they're brutally honest about what that is. Your customers are, too. We're all
one another's customers. Almost all of us are better at saying what we want as customers than we are at listening to what our customers want from us. Are your customers
frustrated because you're too busy to listen to them? Here's the answer to that question: Are you frustrated when you're the customer being ignored?
- They expect your undivided attention. But they won't give you theirs for more than a few minutes – unless you're doing something they really like. Paying
attention to them, for example. Your customers are exactly the same way.
Some Insights About Insight
Which brings me to what I really want to talk about – insight.
I've offered you several insights about you, your customers and -- for what it's worth -- four year olds. I believe they're brilliant. I hope you believe
they're worth considering.
Insight is one of the buzz words right now when it comes to monitoring social media. We all want insights. But we're too busy to read all that stuff our customers
are saying to us and about us on Facebook, Twitter and the rest of the Internet. Except that's the very stuff your four year olds -- your customers -- want you to hear. So,
shouldn't you be paying attention?
There are three questions worth knowing the answers to, it seems to me:
- What: What are your customers saying? Maybe they're saying so much you really don't have time to listen to it all. Maybe you can have your interns,
junior staff or your PR agency boil it down for you so you can focus on the things that keep coming up over and over.
- So what: Your customers are saying something good or bad about your product or the way you treat them? Is it important? Or just noise? Someone complained about
the keyboard you sold them? So what? Is it an isolated complaint? Or an indication of something you need to fix? Can you rely on your interns to come up with the so
whats about what your customers are saying? Or is that something you should be doing?
- Now what: Once you know what your customers are saying and you've gained insight into the so what of their comments, it's time for the most
important question of all: Now what? What, if anything, are you going to do about it? Can you rely on your interns to come up with the answer to that question? Or is that
something you -- or your boss -- should be doing?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jerry Brown committed journalism for 20 years, but received a full pardon. He's been
practicing public relations for more than 25 years and plans to keep practicing until he gets it right -- which he hopes takes a long time
because he likes what he does. He specializes in strategy and message development, media relations and media training and writing (news releases, annual reports,
collateral, etc.). He also writes the Monday Morning Media Minute, a free weekly media tip distributed
by e-mail. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org / 303-781-8787.
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